Pangasinense town hails importance of carabao in annual festival

“The carabao, that was previously dubbed as the beast of burden, was instrumental in helping farmers send their children to school and are now mostly professionals,” Anda Mayor Aldrin Cerdan underlined in his message during the second annual “Awron Magtatalon Tan Mangunguna” or the “Araw ng mga Magsasaka at Mangingisda” last December 13 at Brgy. Tondol in Anda, Pangasinan.

For many years, carabaos served as the Andanian farmers’ great ally in hurdling farmworks.  With the organized crossbreeding program being implemented in the area by PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (PCC@DMMMSU), however,  these carabaos are continuously upgraded to become a dairy animal aside from being a source of draft power. Currently, the town has recorded some 300 crossbreds.

“Dairying is a thriving industry that promises to bring daily income to farmers with the milk that they collect and are able to sell every day,” Dr. Arnel del Barrio, PCC executive director, said in his message as he urged farmers to join the program on Carabao-Based Enterprise Development (CBED).

CBED is a program of PCC that ushers dairy farmers and their communities to engage in viable dairy enterprise for increased incomes and social empowerment. CBED also establishes industry models to showcase production, postharvest, processing, and marketing.

Mayor Cerdan expressed his intention to further the “buy-back scheme” in Anda. He committed to allocate Php200,000 for the initiative.

A provincial ordinance in 2013, pertaining to the sale or slaughter of female carabaos within Pangasinan, was passed by LGU-Pangasinan to retain the female breedable carabaos in the province.

“We will help the LGU of Anda in realizing the initiative by pledging to contribute the same amount for the scheme,” Dr. del Barrio said.

All these exchanges happened during the farmers and fisherfolks day that showcased carabao painting, search for the heaviest carabao, search for the most talented carabao, and the distribution of 200 ml chocolate milk in sachets to children who were present at the event.

Exur Tadeo bagged the first prize for the carabao painting, Rudy Carretero and Rodriquez Funelas for owning the heaviest carabaos at  743 kg (male category) and  657 kg (female category), and Willy Castro for owning the most talented kneeling carabao named “Luisa”.

Also in attendance in the event are PCC@DMMSU center director Gloria Dela Cruz, District Veterinarian Jovito Tabarejos, PCC staff, LGU officials and personnel.

Awron Magtatalon Tan Mangunguna is Anda’s annual thanksgiving day in celebration of the town’s prosperous harvest and bountiful catch.  The town is a third class municipality situated in the Lingayen Gulf with farming and fishing as main sources of livelihood.